Dark Days


D
ark Days

Taken from Chapter 13

Realities of a True Christian

 

Unless those days had been cut short, no life would have been saved; but for the sake of the elect those days will urgency to risebe cut short. For false christs and false prophets will arise and will show great signs and wonders, so as to mislead, if possible, even the elect. Behold, I have told you in advance.[1]

If the rampant sinning and persecutions of today are not bad enough, then hold on, because it will indeed get worse in the near future. Outward manifestations of sin and Christian hatred will soon be insurmountable such as the world has never seen. This will be accompanied by a great falling away. Much of this will occur, not from atheist and radical Muslims, but from those who believe they are Christians and attend so-called Christian churches; evidences of this unfolding are already a reality today.

Realities New CoverThere are so many Scriptural warnings concerning the great darkness of the days to come. Two areas pertaining to these days demand our attention. The first area revolves around understanding the seriousness and reality of hell. The second reality regards future unfolding and the out-pouring of false prophets upon the land (already a great outbreak has occurred). The reality for the truly converted believer should not be that of fearing the dark days to come, rather the practice of discernment, awareness of godly obedience and a love for the things of God ought to be in the forefront of those seeking to please their Lord. Remember, even though there is a great falling away, God will still save a multitude of people. Let us first consider Jesus’ parable of the rich man and Lazarus as it pertains to the reality of hell.

Now there was a rich man, and he habitually dressed in purple and fine linen, joyously living in splendor every day. And a poor man named Lazarus was laid at his gate, covered with sores, and longing to be fed with the crumbs which were falling from the rich man’s table; besides, even the dogs were coming and licking his sores. Now the poor man died and was carried away by the angels to Abraham’s bosom; and the rich man also died and was buried. In Hades he lifted up his eyes, being in torment, and saw Abraham far away and Lazarus in his bosom. And he cried out and said, ‘Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus so that he may dip the tip of his finger in water and cool off my tongue, for I am in agony in this flame.’ But Abraham said, ‘Child, remember that during your life you received your good things, and likewise Lazarus bad things; but now he is being comforted here, and you are in agony. And besides all this, between us and you there is a great chasm fixed, so that those who wish to come over from here to you will not be able, and that none may cross over from there to us.’ And he said, ‘Then I beg of you, father, that you send him to my father’s house – for I have five brothers – in order that he may warn them, so that they will not also come to this place of torment.’ But Abraham said, ‘They have Moses and the Prophets; let them hear them.’ But he said, ‘No, father Abraham, but if someone goes to them from the dead, they will repent.’ But he said to him, ‘If they do not listen to Moses and the Prophets, they will not be persuaded even if someone rises from the dead.’”[2]

The reality of a “great chasm,” a “place of torment,” is very much portrayed in Jesus’ parable here in Luke. Notice that this place is irreversible – those who cross over the chasm never come back. This is the second death – the final death and eternal torment for those who have rebelled against God.

How many of us are like the rich man? Compared to having nothing, rich is having anything more than you need. In our society today, we have almost everything we want – this goes far beyond the basic human needs – food, water, clothing and shelter. There are suffering, starving, persecuted and physically destitute people all across the world, and yet so few people even care to give and even fewer are in true prayer for the forgotten humans living in squalor.

K.P. Yohannan, founder of Gospel for Asia, sums up the reality of hell in his classic message, “Christ’s Call.” He says, “Hell is forever. And after ten billion, trillion years, those in hell will scream, saying, ‘I want to die, I want to die.’ That’s all – not even for a drop of water. They just want to die. And the answer will come again and again and again, ‘You shall never die. You will never die.’ That is the fate of multiplied billions on planet earth.”[3] A strong statement but nonetheless one that is true. Hell is very much a reality and the days to come will grow considerable darker as the judgment hour approaches. May we take heed and act in such a way that we lay down all of our fleshly concerns and pick up a genuine love for all people.

As we read the Scriptures that relate to the dark days ahead, we must take careful notice as to what a false prophet looks like and how they act. We must be wise and careful to examine the messages that are being taught and preached in our day. We must be courageous and bold to recognize and even stand against false Christian teaching. We must be wise in the Scriptures. We must begin by making sure that we ourselves are truly what we claim and that the new birth of Jesus Christ has been granted to us.

I feel that I must let the Scriptures concerning false prophets and the dark days to come be presented to you without comment. I highly suggest that you dig into these verses for yourself, especially in regards to the overall context. Although I do not present the entire realm of Scriptures as to this topic, I believe it will be sufficient for you to begin a study on your own. Following these passages, I will follow up with a few considerations that will challenge you to apply what you have read to your life. I pray that the Spirit of the living God will speak His Word to you.

But evil men and imposters will proceed from bad to worse, deceiving and being deceived.”[4]

But the Spirit explicitly says that in later times some will fall away from the faith, paying attention to deceitful spirits and doctrines of demons, by means of the hypocrisy of liars seared in their own conscience as with a branding iron, men who forbid marriage and advocate abstaining from foods which God has created to be gratefully shared in by those who believe and know the truth.”[5]

But realize this, that in the last days difficult times will come. For men will be lovers of self, lovers of money, boastful, arrogant, revilers, disobedient to parents, ungrateful, unholy, unloving, irreconcilable, malicious gossips, without self-control, brutal, haters of good, treacherous, reckless, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, holding to a form of godliness, although they have denied its power; Avoid such men as these. For among them are those who enter into households and captivate weak women weighed down with sins, led on by various impulses, always learning and and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth. Just as Jannes and Jambres opposed Moses, so these men also oppose the truth, men of depraved mind, rejected in regard to the faith. But they will not make further progress; for their folly will be obvious to all, just as Janne’s and Jambres’s folly was also.[6]

But false prophets also arose among the people, just as there will also be false teachers among you, who will secretly introduce destructive heresies, even denying the Master who bought them, bringing swift destruction upon themselves. Many will follow their sensuality, and because of them the way of the truth will be maligned; and in their greed they will exploit you with false words; their judgment from long ago is not idle, and their destruction is not asleep.”[7]

Daring, self-willed, they do not tremble when they revile angelic majesties, whereas angels who are greater in might and power do not bring a reviling judgment against them before the Lord. But these, like unreasoning animals, born as creatures of instinct to be captured and killed, reviling where they have no knowledge, will in the destruction of those creatures also be destroyed, suffering wrong as the wages of doing wrong. They count it a pleasure to revel in the daytime. They are stains and blemishes, reveling in their deceptions, as they carouse with you, having eyes full of adultery that never cease from sin, enticing unstable souls, having a heart trained in greed, accursed children; forsaking the right way, they have gone astray, having followed the way of Balaam, the son of Beor, who loved the wages of unrighteousness; but he received a rebuke for his own transgression, for a mute donkey, speaking with a voice of a man, restrained the madness of the prophet. These are springs without water and mists driven by a storm, for whom the black darkness has been reserved. For speaking out arrogant words of vanity they entice by fleshly desires, by sensuality, those who barely escape from the ones who live in error, promising them freedom while they themselves are slaves of corruption; for by what a man is overcome, by this he is enslaved. For if, after they have escaped the defilements of the world by the knowledge of the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, they are again entangled in them and are overcome, the last state has become worse than the first. For it would be better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than having known it, to turn away from the holy commandment handed on to them. It has happened to them according to the true proverb, ‘A dog returns to its own vomit,’ and, ‘A sow, after washing, returns to wallowing in the mire.’”[8]

Now we request you, brethren, with regard to the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our gathering together to Him, that you not be quickly shaken from your composure or be disturbed either by a spirit or a message or a letter as if from us, to the effect that the day of the Lord has come. Let no one in any way deceive you, for it will not come unless the apostasy comes first, and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the son of destruction, who opposes and exalts himself above every so-called god or object of worship, so that he takes his seat in the temple of God, displaying himself as being God. Do you not remember that while I was still with you, I was telling you these things? And you know what restrains him now, so that in his time he will be revealed. For the mystery of the lawlessness is already at work; only he who now restrains will do so until he is taken out of the way. Then that lawless one will be revealed whom the Lord will slay with the breath of His mouth and bring an end by the appearance of His coming; that is, the one whose coming is in accord with the activity of Satan, with all power and signs and false wonders, and with all deception of wickedness for those who perish, because they did not received the love of the truth so as to be saved. For this reason God will send upon them a deluding influence so that they will believe what is false, in order that they all may be judged who did not believe the truth, but took pleasure in wickedness.”[9]

“‘Therefore behold, I am against the prophets,’ declares the Lord, ‘who use their tongues and declare “The Lord declares.” Behold, I am against those who have prophesied false dreams,’ declares the Lord, ‘and related them and led My people astray by their falsehoods and reckless boasting; yet I did not send them or command them, nor do they furnish this people the slightest benefit,’ declares the Lord.”[10]

Alas, you who are longing for the day of the Lord, for what purpose will the day of the Lord be for you? It will be darkness and not light; as when a man flees from a lion and a bear meets him, or goes home, leans his hand against the wall and a snake bites him. Will not the day of the Lord be darkness instead of light, even gloom with no brightness in it? I hate, I reject your festivals, nor do I delight in your solemn assemblies. Even though you offer up to Me burnt offerings and your grain offerings, I will not accept them; and I will not even look at the peace offerings of your fatlings. Take away from Me the noise of your songs; I will not even listen to the sound of your harps. But let justice roll down like waters and righteousness like an ever-flowing stream.”[11]

Now as to the times and the epochs, brethren, you have no need of anything to be written to you. For you yourselves know full well that the day of the Lord will come just like a thief in the night. While they are saying, ‘Peace and safety!’ then destruction will come upon them suddenly like labor pains upon a woman with child, and they will not escape. But you, brethren, are not in darkness, that the day would overtake you like a thief; for you are all sons of light and sons of day. We are not of night nor of darkness; so then let us not sleep as others do, but let us be alert and sober. For those who sleep do their sleeping at night, and those who get drunk get drunk at night. But since we are of the day, let us be sober, having put on the breastplate of faith and love, and as a helmet, the hope of salvation. For God has not destined us for wrath, but for obtaining salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ, who died for us, so that whether we are awake or asleep, we will live together with Him. Therefore encourage one another and build up one another, just as you also are doing.”[12]

Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world.”[13]

The end of all things is near; therefore, be of sound judgment and sober spirit for the purpose of prayer. Above all, keep fervent in your love for one another, because love covers a multitude of sins.”[14]

Knowing this first of all, that in the last days mockers will come with their mocking, following their own lusts, and saying, ‘Where is the promise of His coming? For ever since the fathers fell asleep, all continues just as it was from the beginning of creation.’ For when they maintain this, it escapes their notice that by the word of God the heavens existed long ago and the earth was formed out of water and by water, through which the world at that time was destroyed, being flooded with water. But by His word the present heavens and earth are being reserved for fire, kept for the day of judgment and destruction of ungodly men. But do not let this one fact escape your notice, beloved, that with the Lord one day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years like one day. The Lord is not slow about His promise, as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing for any to perish but for all to come to repentance. But the day of the Lord will come like a thief, in which the heavens will pass away with a roar and the elements will be destroyed with intense heat, and the earth and its works will be burned up. Since all these things are to be destroyed in this way, what sort of people ought you to be in holy conduct and godliness, looking for and hastening the coming of the day of God, because of which the heavens will be destroyed by burning, and the elements will melt with intense heat!” [15]

In light of these verses how should we then act?

But immorality or any impurity or greed must not even be named among you, as is proper among saints; and there must be no filthiness and silly talk, or coarse jesting, which are not fitting, but rather giving of thanks. For this you know with certainty, that no immoral or impure person or covetous man, who is an idolater, has an inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and God. Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of these things the wrath of God comes upon the sons of disobedience. Therefore do not be partakers with them; for you were formerly darkness, but now you are Light in the Lord; walk as children of Light (for the fruit of the Light consists in all goodness and righteousness and truth), trying to learn what is pleasing to the Lord. Do not participate in the unfruitful deeds of darkness, but instead even expose them; for it is disgraceful even to speak of the things which are done by them in secret. But all things become visible when they are exposed by the light, for everything that becomes visible is light. For this reason it says, ‘Awake, sleeper, and arise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you.’ Therefore be careful how you walk, not as unwise men but as wise, making the most of your time, because the days are evil. So then do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is. And do not get drunk with wine, for that is dissipation, but be filled with the Spirit, speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody with your heart to the Lord; always giving thanks for all things in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ to God, even the Father; and be subject to one another in the fear of Christ.”[16]

Considerations

–          Do not justify your sinfulness and avoid the Word of God.

–          Do not give justification for a false prophet because he or she ‘looks’ like a good person outwardly in the flesh.

–          When sin is not preached against, it is secretly and wickedly favored deep within the heart.

–          You will not see nor admit the truth about your sin when you treasure your sin greater than the Word of God.

–          You will not do what God wants you to do without a view of eternity at the forefront of your thought life.

–          Do not forsake true fellowship. But realize that going to a building one day a week and sitting in a chair while listening to someone speak does not constitute true fellowship.

–          Get alone with God. Are you really seeking for God and wanting to know your place in His economy?

Hindus practice their religion in the fear of their gods. Muslims train to die for their Koran and to forward their cause. Wiccans and Satan worshipers send false sheep among Christian churches to destroy God’s bride. And yet the professing church, especially the church in North America, sleeps. As a friend of mine has said on numerous occasions, “When are we professing Christians going to become more radical for Christ than all of Hell’s army is for their wickedness? He who is in us is greater than he who is in the world.”[17] If we are not living for Christ and reaching out to the lost, sick, starving, hurting, persecuted people of the world, then it would be better for us that we never took the name of Christ upon ourselves. For on judgment day it would have been better if we had not been born. We must break the cycle of living in self-sustenance and calling it a pure religion.

As we come to the close of this book, I want to turn our attention to one of the worst areas of depravity and sin, at least in my eyes, in existence and growing at an unbelievable rate around the entire world, even here in America. It is called, human trafficking.

“Human trafficking is one of the fastest-growing criminal enterprises in the world today, soon to surpass the drug trade.

–          2.5 million people around the world are in forced labor at any given time as a result of trafficking.

–          More than half of trafficking victims are from Asia and the Pacific.

–          Every year, an estimated 1.2 million children become victims of trafficking.

o   Nepali women and girls, some as young as 9 years old, are sold into India’s red-light district – 10,000 to 15,000 per year.

o   Sri Lanka is touted as a pedophile’s paradise, with up to 40,000 child prostitutes – mostly boys – trafficked to serve tourists.

o   300,000 children worldwide are currently trafficked as child soldiers.”[18]

–          Prevalence of trafficking victims in the world: 1.8 per 1,000 inhabitants.

–          Prevalence of trafficking victims in Asia and the Pacific: 3 per 1,000 inhabitants.[19]

How can we not see the realities of this? How can we not speak out against this? How can we not help even the one person? Would your views change if it were your child being sold into sex slavery?

Indeed the sins of the world are great. We must all reach out to help at least one. Whether it is someone local, someone far away, someone homeless, someone addicted, someone persecuted overseas, we are all called by God to reach at least one person. We must deal with the sin in our own hearts, be dedicated and resolved in prayer and respond in love. Without coming to grips with our own sin and realizing that Satan is just around the corner desiring to claim lost souls, then what drive will we have to see the lost saved, the false prophets exposed and the suffering aided? Has the love of Christ truly been shed abroad in our hearts as we may claim? Following Christ is not a life of promised prosperity and fame, rather a life of surrender, suffering, anguish, and persecution for living godly, and yet, full of love, peace, contentment and true joy.

“Oh bless me Lord, bless me Lord”

You know it’s all I ever hear

No one aches, no one hurts

No one even sheds one tear[20]

[1] Matthew 24:22,24-25

[2] Luke 9:19-31 (bold mine)

[3] KP Yohannan – message: Christ’s Call

[4] 2 Timothy 3:13

[5] 1 Timothy 4:1-3

[6] 2 Timothy 3:1-9

[7] 2 Peter 2:1-3

[8] 2 Peter 2:10b-22

[9] 2 Thessalonians 2:1-12

[10] Jeremiah 23:30-32

[11] Amos 5:18-24

[12] 1 Thessalonians 5:1-22

[13] 1 John 4:1

[14] 1 Peter 4:7-8

[15] 2 Peter 3:3-12 – bold mine

[16] Ephesians 5:3-21

[17] Thought owed to Frank Duran, Carlsbad, NM

[18] No Longer a Slumdog, K.P. Yohannan, Gospel for Asia, 2011, pg. 156

[19] http://www.state.gov/documents/organization/142979.pdf

[20] Asleep in the Light – Keith Green

2 Replies to “Dark Days”

  1. Amen! In the West the Church reminds me of frogs in warm water. They’ll remain there until the water is boiling and it’s too late to jump out. Thank you for your honest assessment of this world and our responsibility to God.

    Like

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